Helping New Zealand build strong communities


Viet Nam Veterans and their Families Trust

Mission / Whakatakanga
What we fund
What we do not fund
Who can apply
How much to apply for
Making an application


The Viet Nam Veterans and their Families Trust (Trust) provides grants to Viet Nam Veterans and their families to assist with relief from poverty and/or hardship. Grants are additional to any existing entitlements (under the War Pensions Act 1954) to which Viet Nam Veterans may be entitled.

The Trust was established in 2007 by the Government with a capital endowment of $7 million for a 30 year period.  In 2037, the Trust Deed (.pdf, 1MB) requires the original capital endowment to be repaid.

During the 30 year period, Trustees will invest capital, with net income earned being made available to veterans and their families under the provisions of the Trust Deed (.pdf, 1MB).

The number and amount of grants approved is subject to change each year, with the Trust’s annual income being approximately $250,000 a year. The Trustees consider all applications received by the Trust and decide, based on each application’s merit, whether to make a grant and, if so, for how much.

The average amount per grant is approximately $3700, but larger and smaller grants are also made depending on the individual’s circumstances. 

Decisions of the Trustees are made independently of Government.   

The Trust is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs and this administration is separately funded by the Government at no cost to the Trust.    

The Trust is a charitable trust incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 (registration number 1984320)

Trust membership

There is a minimum of three Trustees and a maximum of five Trustees.

The Trust Settlor (the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs) appoint one Trustee and the chairperson.  If the Trust continues past repayment date (2037) the power of appointment of a further Trustee is vested in the New Zealand Viet Nam Veterans Association (VVA) and the Royal New Zealand and Returned Services’ Association (RSA).

The RSA appoints two Trustees.
The VVA appoints two Trustees.
The Settlor, RSA and VVA may appoint a replacement Trustee at any time.
The current Trustees are

  • Philippa Smith Lambert – Chair (Settlor appointee)
  • Robert (Bukit) Hill (RSA appointee)
  • Michael Dudman (RSA appointee)
  • Pamela Miley-Terry (VVA appointee)
  • Graham Gibson (VVA appointee)

Mission / Whakatakanga

The Trust Deed (.pdf, 1MB) defines the Trust’s purpose to be the relief from poverty or hardship of veterans and their families and other matters beneficial to the community of Veterans and their families.

The Trust aims to make day-to-day life easier for Viet Nam veterans and their families who are struggling. In deciding whether or not to make a grant the Trustees look to see the benefit a grant would make to someone’s life.

What we fund

The Trustees consider the poverty or hardship the applicant is experiencing. 

The following list includes types of expenses the Trust may be able to assist with:

  • House repairs (e.g.roof repairs, fixing plumbing electricity, replacing a rotten fence)
  • Purchase and/ or Installation of home heating
  • Purchase of practical items such as a bed
  • House alterations required for medical reasons
  • Debt (arising from unexpected circumstances)
  • Orthodontic work or optometrist expenses
  • Travel (e.g. to visit a sick relative, or to attend hospital visits) 
  • Some educational expenses (e.g. fees to attend a school which supports children with a disability or school books) N.B. the Trust is unlikely to be able to assist with tertiary education or apprenticeship fees.

Trustees may approve grants to meet retrospective costs.

If you are unsure whether your situation will meet the criteria for a grant from the Trust, it is better to put in an application, rather than assume you might not be eligible.  The Trust may be able to direct you to other sources of assistance.

Grants will normally be one-off payments, and therefore recipients should not depend on continuing financial support from the Trust.

What we don’t fund

  • Mortgages
  • Medical therapies provided by the public health system or alternative therapies
  • Investment in business ventures
  • Major capital items, or similar, such as the purchase of a house, land or buildings
  • Ongoing costs such as rent (living expenses)
  • Compensation for the longstanding grievances of the veterans’ community

Who can apply

Applicants must be New Zealand Viet Nam veterans or family members of New Zealand Viet Nam veterans.  Priority will be given to cases where there is immediate or obvious need or hardship. Applicants may live outside New Zealand.

Applicants can apply to the Trust more than once, even if they have received a grant before.

If a Viet Nam veteran or family member you know is struggling please encourage them to apply if you think there is a need.

How much to apply for

There is no limit to the amount that you can apply for.  However, because of pressure on funds, the Trust is rarely able to provide funding to the level requested and is more likely to consider only a contribution towards a project.

Making an application